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ALEX & EMMA

Locations and Costumes
The film is set on the East Coast – Alex and Emma live and work in Boston and Alex's book is set on the fictional New England island of St. Charles. Production designer John Larena created the interiors of Alex and Emma's apartments, the Delacroix kitchen and its guest quarters entirely at the Sunland Soundstages. With the exception of one day of shooting on location in Boston, the city's exteriors were shot on the Universal Backlot and all other scenes were shot on location in and around greater Los Angeles.

The stately summer home of the Delacroix family was played by the Langton House, located in historic South Pasadena. St. Charles' ferry dock and boardwalk were shot at Ports O' Call Village in the coastal town of San Pedro, and the beach picnic was shot at nearby Cabrillo Beach. The beautifully preserved Victorian Doheny Mansion served as multiple locations for the film, including the St. Charles Casino interiors and exteriors, as well as the ornate interior of the Orantes Mansion Ballroom.

Great care was taken to make sure that all of the locations were dressed to look the part. The most dramatic transformation was seen at Ports O'Call Village. Hundreds of 1920s-garbed extras were brought in, and the docks were adorned with naval antiquities and period floral and vegetable carts. This was one of the first scenes depicting Alex's story and it was very important to set the stage for the time period and the look of his tale.

Costume designer Shay Cunliffe found the project to be an exciting change of pace, having most recently worked on films set in the present day. Although Alex & Emma is set in contemporary Boston, Cunliffe was tasked with creating wardrobe for Alex's fantasy world of 1920s New England. While she enjoyed searching out ‘20s-era clothes, she soon found how difficult it is to find authentic clothes from that time that are in good condition.

Cunliffe went to numerous outlets and private collectors to put together her wardrobe palette. The dresses and aprons worn by each of the au pairs represent the fruits of her labor, as all were original ‘20s-era. The designer had to find a way to express each of the au pairs' individual personalities, and at the same time, communicate that they are all based on the same person. "I tried to maintain some continuity between their clothes, while still underscoring the humor of their different nationalities."

Polina is wealthy and extravagant, and her wardrobe needed to reflect this. Cunliffe was able to find a surprising number of original dresses that were perfect for Polina, but in the end her gowns were a mix of new and old.

"When you look at yourself being transformed into somebody very different, you believe what you see in the mirror," says Marceau. "And the ‘20s have a lot of personality. They came just after women were wearing corsets, and were very cooped up in their clothes. The twenties liberated women. It was a great moment of liberation, of freedom, of life and of happiness."

Cunliffe designed John Shaw's suits to reflect his wealth and stature and Adam's wardrobe to reflect his penniless state. She felt that as a writer, Adam would have a very small amount of clothes, and chose to use fabrics that wrinkle very easily such as linen and cotton. "We wanted to give him the look and feel of a struggling writer living out of a suitcase." She also wanted to convey Adam as an outsider in this world of money – "there is always a contrast between Adam's wardrobe and everyone else. He is always a little out of step."

Cunliffe designed very distinct looks for Alex and Emma as well. Their wardrobe was meant to convey the fact that the two have extremely limited resources. Cunliffe<

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